A CIRCULATED email rants against what the Daily Mail is wont to call ‘political correctness gone mad.’ The White House had, apparently, decided to rename the Christmas tree this year the Winter tree. Not very imaginative, and a bit of a nonsense I think, if the intention was not to offend those of other faiths.
A Jewish writer and commentator, Ben Stein, was quoted on a CBS programme at some length: as a Jew, he said he was more than happy for people to celebrate Christmas, he didn’t feel discriminated against and he didn’t feel threatened. But then the email morphed into a different beast altogether – a general rant against the state of the world. A world that has rejected God and is reaping the consequences, which are listed ad nauseum: natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, children (who, apparently, now have ‘no conscience’) killing themselves and each other, and liberal parenting of the kind advocated by Dr Spock leading – in the case of the good and gentle doctor – to the suicide of his own son. At least that was the cruel and outrageous implication.
I don’t know where this stuff comes from. The person who sent me the email subsequently told me the reported renaming of the White House Christmas tree isn’t even true, but an ugly rumour circulated by the Christian Right to demonise President Obama. He also says that circulating it doesn’t imply approval, and that the aim is to provoke discussion, if only we could find someone to agree with what’s being said.
Well, I think we probably could. For a start, the thousands who’ve circulated the email, and those they send it to, presumably in the belief that it will get a sympathetic hearing. And I’m fairly convinced that, for most of the time, it does. Discussion? Hmmm. On reflection I’m not sure there would even be a basis for discussion with people who start from the premise that young people, universally, have no conscience and that natural disasters are a result of God turning his back on an increasingly secular world. So I’ll probably pass on that one.